A Day with Holy Women

“With all my heart I glorify the Lord!
In the depths of who I am I rejoice in God my savior.

Luke 1:36-47

You are invited to spend the day with some very holy women, Mary and Elizabeth. Find a quiet spot in the room where you hear the Angel Gabriel tell Mary the wonderful news that she is going to be the mother of our savior. Then walk with her as she makes her way to her cousin, Elizabeth, so that they can both share the joy of what God is doing for them…and for Mary to help Elizabeth because Elizabeth was much older. Be aware of these beautiful events throughout your day—”The Annunciation” to Mary in the morning, then “The Visitation” as you travel with Mary on the way to visit and have lunch with Elizabeth about noon, spending the afternoon with them, and finally praying the evening prayer of what is called Mary’s “Magnificat” from verse 47.

The use of our imagination in reading the Bible helps us to have our whole persons involved in the events that take place. So what’s it like to spend the day with these holy women?

Luke 1:26-56

Here is a sample of a seven-syllable breath-prayer
from today’s reading:
My soul magnifies the Lord. v. 47
For more information about
this creative way to pray, see Bible Breaths.

This is the Second Week in Advent
Winter in the north.  Year C
On Fridays we read the Gospel of Luke

Seasons of Grace – A Calendar for 2019

Solar and Sacred Seasons
Some adjustments to make the church year simpler.

These Firestarters are from a new edition of The Bible Through the Seasons being developed for families with children. For the Firestarters in the original edition, I recommend the ebook.  You will have the entire program of well over a thousand Firestarters with you on your phone or tablet.  More information…

How to Avoid Being Tripped

Therefore, once you have your minds ready for action and you are thinking clearly, place your hope completely on the grace that will be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed.

1 Peter 1:13

The idea of “minds ready for action” comes from a word in Greek when people used to gather up their long clothes and tie them to their waist so that they would not trip. It’s like carrying a small appliance around. First you pick up the cord and make sure that it doesn’t drag, to avoid tripping.

If we are going to walk and even run by God’s ways, we need to have nothing hanging about ourselves that would trip us up! Do you have any “loose ends” in your thoughts and feelings that need to be gathered up so that you don’t trip? These can be ways of thinking that get in the way of the sweep of following God that God has in mind for all of us.

Now here are a few verses that gather the whole Gospel together: Verses 18-19. These verses are a kind of cord about your mind as you walk in their truth. What special love Jesus has for us to save us from tripping over bad things by the power of His poured out life for us!

1 Peter 1:13−25

Here is a sample of a seven-syllable breath-prayer
from today’s reading:
Girding my mind for action v. 13
For more information about this creative way to pray,
see Bible Breaths.

This is the Second Week in Advent
Winter in the north.  Year C
Thursdays in this season are dedicated to the the letters of Peter

Seasons of Grace – A Calendar for 2019

Solar and Sacred Seasons
Some adjustments to make the church year simpler.

These Firestarters are from a new edition of The Bible Through the Seasons being developed for families with children. For the Firestarters in the original edition, I recommend the ebook.  You will have the entire program of well over a thousand Firestarters with you on your phone or tablet.  More information…

How to Get Out of a Bad Mood

O sing to the Lord a new song;
 sing to the Lord, all the earth.

Psalm 96:1

We humans are the only ones that get into bad moods. The rest of creation perfectly expresses the joy in being created. One of the ways of getting out of a bad mood is to be aware of what’s outside yourself: the physical world and all that’s in it.

Yet in the verses 11 and 12 of the psalm, the word “Let us” used five times when the sacred writer tells us to let the earth be glad. Hmm…so it seems that in some way, creation waits for us to do this—to get out of our bad moods to allow the creatures of God to be who they are! Maybe this is part of what is means when God put Adam in charge of all the animals. It was Adam’s and our job, not to subdue animals and have them serve us, but rather to be the one that sets them free to be themselves and to add praises to God for them.

Today’s psalm invites you to become a composer: Sing a new song to the Lord. You might begin to hum or sing in a spontaneous way, just as do the birds and the sound of the wind in the trees. In this way, we become with all the animals of the forest who are like our sisters and brothers!

Psalm 96

Here is a sample of a seven-syllable breath-prayer
from today’s reading:
Sing to the Lord a new song! v. 1
For more information about this creative way to pray, see Bible Breaths.

This is the Second Week in Advent
Winter in the north.  Year C
Wednesdays are dedicated to the Psalms

Seasons of Grace – A Calendar for 2019

Solar and Sacred Seasons
Some adjustments to make the church year simpler.

These Firestarters are from a new edition of The Bible Through the Seasons being developed for families with children. For the Firestarters in the original edition, I recommend the ebook.  You will have the entire program of well over a thousand Firestarters with you on your phone or tablet.  More information…

A Love Story

AnimFireStarterMay the Lord reward you for your deed. May you receive a rich reward from the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you’ve come to seek refuge.

Ruth 2:12

In today’s episode, Ruth goes out to gather up the leftovers after the harvesters are finished reaping the crops. Now comes the beginning of the love story between the owner of the field, Boaz and Ruth, the foreign lady who is quietly gathering up leftover grain the fields, lest they remain and rot in the field without being picked.

Watch the care of Boaz, the humility of Ruth, and all through this, the plan of God to bring these two persons together in love. It’s a beautiful story of how God makes human love into something beautiful. Ruth will become an ancestor of Jesus!

Ruth 2

Here is a sample of a seven-syllable breath-prayer
from today’s reading:
My refuge, under Your wings v. 12
For more information about this creative way to pray, see Bible Breaths.

This is the Second Week in Advent
Winter in the north.  Year C
Tuesdays are dedicated in Advent to the Book of Ruth

Seasons of Grace – A Calendar for 2019

Solar and Sacred Seasons
Some adjustments to make the church year simpler.

These Firestarters are from a new edition of The Bible Through the Seasons being developed for families with children. For the Firestarters in the original edition, I recommend the ebook.  You will have the entire program of well over a thousand Firestarters with you on your phone or tablet.  More information…

 

Listen to the Silence

The one who is high and lifted up,
    who lives forever, whose name is holy, says:
I live on high, in holiness,
    and also with the crushed and the lowly,
    reviving the spirit of the lowly,
    reviving the heart of those who have been crushed.

Isaiah 57:15

Take the six letters that make up the words “silent” and “listen.” What do you notice about these letters? Pause for a moment without reading on…Just look at these two words. They have the same letters in them! If you are to listen, then you must become silent. To listen to the silence is in faith is to become aware that you are in the presence of God—simply sitting quietly in the silence, being aware of God’s loving presence to you.

Read this chapter of Isaiah from the point of view of this kind of listening. Look how the people of this chapter were being busy about worshiping false god in worthless sanctuaries. They violated the First Commandant. When this happens all the others fall down like a bunch of dominoes!

Again the Advent message: Listen to the silence—God is speaking to your heart.

 Isaiah 57

Here is a sample of a seven-syllable breath-prayer
Contrite and humble within v. 15
For more information about this creative way to pray, see Bible Breaths.

This is the Second Week in Advent
Winter in the north.  Year C
Monday are dedicated in this season to the prophet Isaiah

Seasons of Grace – A Calendar for 2019

Solar and Sacred Seasons
Some adjustments to make the church year simpler.

These Firestarters are from a new edition of The Bible Through the Seasons being developed for families with children. For the Firestarters in the original edition, I recommend the ebook.  You will have the entire program of well over a thousand Firestarters with you on your phone or tablet.  More information…

How Are You?

 This is just as it was written in the scroll of the words of Isaiah the prophet,

A voice crying out in the wilderness:
    Prepare the way for the Lord;
        make his paths straight.

Genesis 43:29-30

“Hi!”or “Hey!”…the usual way we greet each other. Sometimes we hear, “Wazz up?!” None of these are really invitations for us to really say what’s going on inside us. In fact, “Hi,” and “Hey” come from the same source of sound: just a kind of gentle shout to each other to let you know that you’re in each other’s presence.

“Hiya doin’?” Now we’re getting a little closer to inviting someone to say how they are. But even then, we usually give the standard answer: “OK” or “Fine.” But when we hear someone say with lots of attention and with real interest in listening…”How are you?” that becomes something warm and inviting and we get ready to share how it is with us.

How it really is inside us—whether sad, glad, mad, or feelings of love and maybe some fear—all this needs to find a way out so that the energy of peace can well up inside us because we are sharing with someone we care for and whom we trust. That’s the way it was with John the Baptist. Way down inside him, God was speaking to him and preparing him in turn to prepare others for Jesus’ coming. When we read about “The voice crying in the wilderness,” doesn’t that sound like the feelings we have way down inside us—in the “desert” part of our hearts, where the sounds of deep feelings come from? That’s the place where God speaks to you and the very feelings and sounds that we make are often one with the voice of God inside us—the Holy Spirit—who really wants to know how you are! So tell the Spirit…that’s prayer!

Luke 3:1-6

Here is a sample of a seven-syllable breath-prayer
from today’s reading:
Prepare the way of the Lord v. 4
For more information about this creative way to pray,
see Bible Breaths.

This is the Second Week in Advent
Winter in the north.  Year C
Sundays are dedicated to the Gospels from
The Revised Common Lectionary

Seasons of Grace – A Calendar for 2019

Solar and Sacred Seasons
Some adjustments to make the church year simpler.

These Firestarters are from a new edition of The Bible Through the Seasons being developed for families with children. For the Firestarters in the original edition, I recommend the ebook.  You will have the entire program of well over a thousand Firestarters with you on your phone or tablet.  More information…

A Feast at Joseph’s Palace

Joseph looked up and saw his brother Benjamin, his own mother’s son, and he said, “Is this your youngest brother whom you told me about? God be gracious to you, my son.” Joseph’s feelings for his brother were so strong he was about to weep, so he rushed to another room and wept there.

Genesis 43:29-30

All these episodes of Joseph and his brothers are exciting, with lots of mystery and surprise. It’s all about how the brothers of Joseph who sold him to slavery in Egypt, have had to come back to Egypt to get food, for their own land was having a famine—no food. After being sold into slavery, Joseph became so admired that he was put into a high position in Egypt. He wore different clothes, had his haircut different, as well as other features that made it hard for his brothers to recognize him when they saw him. Today’s episode is the story of their eating together, but Joseph still not telling them who he is. In the coming weeks we find out what happens…unless you want to just read before and after this reading and get the whole story at once. It’s a beautiful one that teaches us about God bringing about justice and fairness and love in God’s own timing.

Joseph the Patriarch and Joseph the foster father of Jesus…some similarities!

Genesis 43:19-34

Here is a sample of a seven-syllable breath-prayer
from today’s reading:
Clearing the way for loving
For more information about this creative way to pray,
see Bible Breaths.

Saturdays are dedicated to the Sabbath Torah portions
read in synagogues throughout the world.
This plan follows those traditions that take a third of the portion
over a three year cycle, this year, the second part.
For more about the Torah portions and thoughtful commentaries, visit
The Jewish Theological Seminary.

Seasons of Grace – A Calendar for 2019

Solar and Sacred Seasons
Some adjustments to make the church year simpler.

These Firestarters are from a new edition of The Bible Through the Seasons being developed for families with children. For the Firestarters in the original edition, I recommend the ebook.  You will have the entire program of well over a thousand Firestarters with you on your phone or tablet.  More information…